Schulich Leader Scholars celebrate their ‘Schulich Moment’

Ottawa high school student Miasya Bulger and Raphael Hotter of Montreal have been named McGill’s recipients of the prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarships.
Miasya Bulger and Raphael Hotter are the newest McGill Schulich Leader scholars, just two of 50 students across Canada to receive the country’s premier Science, Technology, Engineering and Math scholarships this year. Owen Egan

It’s the first thing that Schulich Leader scholars remember. That moment when they get an email telling them they have received one of Canada’s most generous scholarship awards from one of Canada’s most impactful donors.

“I just froze,” says Miasya Bulger, who received news of her $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship between classes at Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Ottawa. “I stood right in the middle of the hallway and stared at my phone as other students passed me. McGill has been my dream school ever since I visited the campus a couple of years ago and suddenly the next step of my life became tangible and concrete.”

Meanwhile, 200 km away in Montreal, Raphael Hotter had a ‘Schulich Moment’ of his own.

“I had just finished my gym class when I got the email,” says Hotter, a graduate of Marianopolis College who received an $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. “I ran out of the class to call my parents and I was in total disbelief. The next morning, I was convinced that I had dreamt the whole thing.”

Canada’s top STEM scholarship

The scholarships were established by business leader, philanthropist and McGill graduate Seymour Schulich, BA’61, MBA’65, DLitt’04, who set up the $100 million program in 2012 to encourage Canada’s best and brightest students to become the next pioneers of global scientific research and innovation.

Bulger and Hotter, both 18 years old, become the newest McGill Schulich Leader scholars, just two of 50 students across Canada to receive the country’s premier Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) scholarships this year.

Bulger will be entering the Department of Bioengineering in McGill’s Faculty of Engineering this fall, while Hotter will be entering the Physical, Earth, Math & Computer Science group in McGill’s Faculty of Science. In addition to their academic excellence, Bulger and Hotter were selected for their impressive extra-curricular achievements.

Hotter was co-founder of a school computer science club and hackathon. In addition, his longstanding research interests led to an award-winning science fair project that proposed a new drug to treat the Ebola virus (which he worked on with the guidance of McGill researchers) and, most recently, a new way of imaging the vascular architecture of the brain, which earned second place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Meanwhile Bulger has focused considerable time and energy on community leadership by mentoring STEM students, working with youth through the Royal Canadian Army Cadet program, and implementing programs for youth at the Ottawa Public Library. In addition, Bulger has focused her efforts on initiatives to alleviate child poverty in Ottawa by organizing awareness workshops for students and fundraising drives for food banks and local charities.

Springboard to greater opportunities

For both students, a Schulich Leader Scholarship unlocks even greater potential and more leadership opportunities.

“Winning a Schulich Leader Scholarship provides me with the resources to pursue my dream program of study,” says Bulger. “For me, this scholarship also represents the next step when it comes to changing the conversation regarding women in STEM fields. I hope to become a role model for young girls who often look to mentors when envisioning themselves in a future career.”

“Winning this scholarship is huge,” agrees Hotter. “It provides me with the financial flexibility to focus on my education and on extracurricular activities. Maybe one day, I’ll do something at the intersection of neuroscience, mathematics and computer science.”